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Michael Whitaker

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St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« on: April 01, 2020, 10:54:56 AM »
A group of my friends had a trip planned to St Andrews, but like everywhere in the UK, the courses are all closed for health reasons due to government mandate.


They have been offered a 60% refund for a prepaid round on the Jubilee if they canít work out a reschedule for next year.


60%!!!


Links Trust are going to keep 40% of their customers prepayments even though they are completely closed to any business whatsoever.


Shameful.
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Michael Whitaker

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Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds! New
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2020, 11:02:19 AM »
UPDATE:  Links Trust has responded with a clarification of their policy. A bit more lenient:


The courses are currently closed and we are offering those with a reservation in April the option to reschedule or receive a 100% refund. For reservations in May & June we are offering to reschedule or, assuming the courses are open for play, a 60% refund. If the courses were closed on their date of play then they would receive 100% refund.

For reservations beyond 30 June our standard terms and conditions apply.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 01:09:34 PM by Michael Whitaker »
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2020, 04:06:38 AM »
UPDATE:  Links Trust gas resounded with a clarification of their policy. A bit more lenient:


The courses are currently closed and we are offering those with a reservation in April the option to reschedule or receive a 100% refund. For reservations in May & June we are offering to reschedule or, assuming the courses are open for play, a 60% refund. If the courses were closed on their date of play then they would receive 100% refund.

For reservations beyond 30 June our standard terms and conditions apply.
Very fair
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Simon Holt

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2020, 04:22:06 AM »
Mike,


I think that's a bit strong from you. 


The Links Trust along with the University are probably the biggest employers in the town.  The Links Trust have no zero footfall right now, no one using the restaurants, no merchandise shops open and staff to pay who have rent/mortgages and families to feed.  Who knows how long this thing will go on for and they did offer to reschedule.  The green fees are their only source of cashflow right now and you seem to be expecting them to hand back what I'm guessing is a very punchy number, if done across the board.  What if this lasts all year?


Just because an entity like St Andrews Links Trust isn't some local restaurant that everyone thinks it's woke to rally around.  Or your golf/country club.  But hey, as long as those guys got their £100 back on their green fee, right?!


That's not meant to be a personal attack on you.  It's just to stun us all a little into remembering what this means to people down the supply chain.


Hope all is well with you and your family.  Let's hope we can all spend our money on golf again soon!








2011 highlights- Royal Aberdeen, Loch Lomond, Moray Old, NGLA (always a pleasure), Muirfield Village, Saucon Valley, watching the new holes coming along at The Renaissance Club.

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2020, 04:58:36 AM »

Simon,


all the restaurant and shop staff along with most of the Links Trust's Employees will almost certainly be on the government scheme by now costing the Trust nothing in the long term. They already let their seasonal staff go and it would be interesting to know if they have taken them back onto the books so they too can be supported in the same manner. Whilst it will cost them some money I doubt they will be in any trouble.


It is the smaller businesses dotted around the town who will suffer more. As for the cancellation policy, it seems to me to be pretty fair.


Jon

Simon Holt

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2020, 06:50:14 AM »
Hi Jon,


I think you may be missing my point.  I was attempting, albeit very poorly, to use the Links Trust an example of where consumers seem to think there is a bottomless pit of cash hidden somewhere with certain businesses. 


Using St Andrews as the specific example, we'll be lucky to see visiting golfers before August.  I'd be delighted to be wrong but if that is the case, and the same for many other industries/businesses, the government handouts will run out eventually.


Simon































2011 highlights- Royal Aberdeen, Loch Lomond, Moray Old, NGLA (always a pleasure), Muirfield Village, Saucon Valley, watching the new holes coming along at The Renaissance Club.

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2020, 08:21:14 AM »

Simon,


I was not really agreeing or disagreeing with you. I don't think the Links Trust is a poor organisation but neither is it a bottomless pit of money. However, it is one the businesses who will be least scarred financially in St. Andrews.


I think it is only now dawning on many people just how shot the economy is going to be. I am beginning to reach the conclusion that the only way to avoid a global meltdown economically is for the global economy to restructure and reset itself. The free market, global economy is pretty much dead already it is just most people have not realised it.


Jon

Dan_Callahan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2020, 10:05:09 AM »
I have actually been very appreciative of how understanding businesses have been. I had prepaid a hotel room in Savannah, which is usually no chance in hell of a refund. That's the risk you take. But I called just to see, and they refunded 100% of my money. As a result, any time I travel to Savannah in the future, I will absolutely stay at that hotel every time.


Likewise, I paid my son's college tuition for spring semester several months ago. Obviously, they have canceled on-campus classes and have switched to distance learning. I got an email from the college the other day that they will fully refund the room and board portion of his tuition. Not something I ever asked for, and I was fully prepared to eat it. Because of their thoughtfulness, I plan on returning the refund to the college in the form of a gift to support financial aid.


Typically, I find myself frustrated by industries like airlines and hotels that can sometimes be a brick wall of policy over compassion. But in my experience, that has changed in the last month. Everywhere I look, companies/people are bending over backwards to cut people a break. It's really nice to see.

Michael Whitaker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2020, 10:14:04 AM »
Simon,

To begin with, I don't like the Trust's policy of 100% prepayment for a booking with nonrefundable cancellations. That, in and of itself, is an arrogant business policy. But, it is what it is.

Then, to say they will not refund a customers money when that customer may not be able to travel due to an international health crisis is IMHO shameful. I can understand a nonrefundable policy to eliminate speculative bookings, but not in this instance.

A better policy, short a full refund, would be to offer a credit that can be used at a future date and allow that credit to be transferable. With a transferable credit they could recoup their cost from another golfer willing to take their spot. Most of the guys on this trip in question don't know if they will be able to reschedule in 2021... many of them may be broke due to this virus shutting down their business or costing them their jobs. Forcing them to lose 40% of their payment is horrible.

St Andrews Trust and Carnoustie (who has learned from SAT) shift all the risk and burden from themselves to the golfers. They make you pay up front a year in advance then say, "Bad Weather? That's your problem. Travel restrictions? That's your problem. Worldwide pandemic? That's your problem." Do you think they don't resell a spot that opens up? Of course they do? Then they double pocket the money.

My wife's business is losing money every day due to this virus. She owns a membership organization that offers individuals the opportunity to attend theatre productions as "seat fillers." All the theatres are closed until further notice, so her members are not receiving value for the fee they have paid. She has offered to extend access to her service by the length of time the theatres are closed or issue a refund of the fee to those who prefer that option. Does it hurt to issue a refund? Of course it does! But, it is the customer's money after all (as they have not received what they purchased) and it is the right thing to do. St Andrews Trust could learn from my wife.
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Lou_Duran

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2020, 01:58:42 PM »
I am mostly with Mike on this one.  With the high level of uncertainty surrounding the virus and the widely differing reactions of governments, planning in the current calendar year is difficult at best.  And who knows where the economy will be in 2021?  Will we be still licking our wounds?  Will American tourists, probably a large percentage in or near retirement, be comfortable spending ≠≠£10k+ to cross the pond for a week?  My suspicion is that they will wait a while.  And as the Trust is likely to get a helping hand from the taxpayer, at a minimum, it should provide a full credit with an extended shelf life as suggested by Mike.


Re: how other travel related businesses are responding to these unchartered times, we had prepaid a long cruise around New Zealand, airline tickets, couple nights at an Auckland hotel, a half-dozen local tours and shore excursions.  We got to the gate at LAX near midnight on the 13th for our second flight into Auckland.  There we were told that the PM of NZ had just instituted the strictest travel restrictions in the world to-date and we were re-booked stand-by on the first flight back to Dallas (to add insult to injury, either TSA or the bag handlers broke a near new $280 Titleist bag that never made it out of the cover, and took an extra 24 hours to make it home).


The cruise line, Silver Seas, offered a full refund or a 125% credit on a future cruise good for two years (we took the refund which was immediate).  All tour companies also refunded our money.  American Airlines at first denied our request for a refund, but on appeal is reconsidering.


HotWire either shutdown access to the cancellation page on their website or was inundated by traffic that it crashed.  Its response to my email to Customer Service was to reference the Frequently Asked Questions and Answers section on the website.  My subsequent emails have gone unanswered.  I suspect that my credit card company will provide some help, but we travel quite a bit and have been using HW regularly.  Never again- BUYER BEWARE.











Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2020, 02:26:23 PM »
At the end of 2018 (most recent Accounts online), they had over £30m in the Bank.
F.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2020, 04:19:54 AM »
I agree with Whitty. The refund policy of these cash machine clubs should be relaxed given the circumstances. I suspect credit card companies may get heavily involved! Of course, that likely means that in the future only bank transfers will be acceptable for advance bookings. I know if that I was a club manager I would strongly consider this.

I am happy to say North Berwick is offering refunds up to a certain date. Its the proper response given the circumstances.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 07:59:43 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2020, 08:45:16 AM »
Could we all agree that the Links Trust can keep the money if they will agree to stop with adding rough and awful bunker work?

Mark Pearce

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2020, 08:47:31 AM »
Could we all agree that the Links Trust can keep the money if they will agree to stop with adding rough and awful bunker work?
I'll pay a green fee for a round I'll never have if they cut the rough between 2 and 17 fairways.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 10:55:03 AM by Mark Pearce »
In June I will be riding the first three stages of this year's Tour de France route for charity.  630km (394 miles) in three days, with 7800m (25,600 feet) of climbing for the William Wates Memorial Trust (https://rideleloop.org/the-charity/) which supports underprivileged young people.

Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2020, 08:52:18 AM »
Could we all agree that the Links Trust can keep the money if they will agree to stop with adding rough and awful bunker work?
I'll pay a green fee for a round I'll never have if the cut the rough between 2 and 17 fairways.


I'll pay a green fee for a round I'll never have if they reinstate Hell to how it should look.
(This could turn into a fun Covidiversion!)
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

Simon Holt

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2020, 09:27:50 AM »
Now we're talking!
2011 highlights- Royal Aberdeen, Loch Lomond, Moray Old, NGLA (always a pleasure), Muirfield Village, Saucon Valley, watching the new holes coming along at The Renaissance Club.

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2020, 11:09:15 AM »
As much as I hate to say it.


St. Andrews is arguably the most iconic golf destination in the world, and the boyz at St. Andrews know this....and they also know even if they piss off a few right now, once things re-open the queue will be longer than ever.

Michael Whitaker

  • Karma: +0/-0
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

Jerry Kluger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2020, 04:58:57 PM »
How many of these courses such as TOC, Carnoustie, Lahinch, RCD, etc. would have ever thought 20 or 25 years ago that they would be getting the fees that they are getting today to play them - I would venture to guess that not one of them.  Then how much more is it costing them to maintain the courses and related facilities in comparison to those greens fees - I would guess that the percentage increase is far less than the revenue.  So now in these circumstances I would expect that they would count their blessings and do what they can to help those who planned to come but cannot do so.  Perhaps some of the courses are doing so but any who aren't should take a breath and look at what is best based upon the past and looking into their future.

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2020, 07:51:32 PM »
Jerry you cannot compare Carnoustie and St Andrews with RCD and Lahinch. The latter have a large percentage of their income coming from members virus or no virus. The former if thereís no golf have virtually nil income.
Cave Nil Vino

Ari Techner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Andrews Links Keeping 40% of Refunds!
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2020, 07:52:42 AM »
It's shocking to me that anyone on March 13th would still have been looking to travel internationally and go on a cruise..........


The stories of the people that are now stuck on cruise ships are really scary. 



« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 08:01:06 AM by Ari Techner »

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